DT 26796

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26796

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment ****

I thought that today’s Ray T puzzle was a little harder than usual – or maybe I was distracted as we are having the loft insulated (for free!).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Settled camp enclosing one’s settlement (12)
{SATISFACTION} – start with a verb meaning settled in a chair followed by a camp or small group of people formed of dissenting members of a larger group and then insert I’S (one’s) to get settlement in reparation of an injustice

8a    Scotsman’s tatty accompaniment? (5)
{NEEPS} – a cryptic definition of what a Scotsman eats with his haggis and tatties – minor point, I’ve never heard tatty in the singular used in this context: over to you BigBoab

9a    Isolation’s over with good man facing apartheid (9)
{OSTRACISM} – this isolation by exclusion from a group is a charade of O(ver), the usual good man and a description of apartheid

11a    A French aroma preceded getting separated (9)
{UNTANGLED} – a charade of the French indefinite article, an aroma and a verb meaning preceded or went first gives a different verb meaning getting separated

12a    Starts to stand up, riding foaming sea (5)
{SURFS} – the initial letters of five words in the clue give an action defined by the whole clue

13a    Filled initially working trowel around palmetto ends? (9)
{FLOWERPOT} – start with the initial letter of Filled and then put an anagram (working) of TROWEL around the end letters of PalmettO – so where is the definition? Try reading the whole clue, but I’m not convinced

16a    She’s caught in a made-up story (5)
{ALICE} – to get this girl’s name put C(aught) inside A from the clue and a made up story or fib

18a    Outing in charge of old characters (5)
{RUNIC} – this outing, possibly in the car, is followed by the abbreviation of In Charge to get an adjective meaning of old Germanic characters

19a         He studies bug, otherwise holding wasp’s tail (9)
{INSPECTOR} – this person who studies or examines is created by putting a bug and a two-letter word meaning otherwise around the final letter (tail) of wasP

20a         Chick left creating pandemonium (5)
{BABEL} – another affectionate name for a young girl is followed by L(eft) to get this pandemonium that originated from the Tower where, according to the biblical story, God made the builders all speak different languages.

22a         Cursed bird when draped round neck? (9)
{ALBATROSS} – this bird is used symbolically to mean an oppressive and inescapable fact (from the dead bird hung round the neck of the sailor in Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner)

25a         Run following sweetheart, tense holding hands (9)
{ELOPEMENT} – put a word meaning to run after the middle letter (heart) of swEet and follow it with T(ense) and then insert (holding) hands or crew on a ship – once again the whole clue acts as the definition

26a         Being performed by Lyric Theatre? (5)
{ODEON} – put a two-letter word meaning being performed after (by) a lyric or poem that is sung  to get a theatre for musical contests In ancient Greece and Rome

27a         Boxer wet leg and I threw wobbly! (12)
{WELTERWEIGHT} – this category in boxing  is an anagram (wobbly) of WET LEG and I THREW


1d           Vegetable stew once prepared preserving recipe (9)
{SWEETCORN} – the yellow kernels of this variety of maize are eaten as a vegetable and are an anagram (prepared) of STEW ONCE around (preserving) R(ecipe)

2d           Name of boxer and some rottweilers! (5)
{TYSON} – the name of this famous former heavyweight boxing champion is also frequently given by the typically inadequate people who own them to rottweilers

3d           Winds round reel (5)
{SPOOL} – reverse a verb meaning winds or coils to get this reel on which yarn is wound

4d           Doctor instead to produce cures (9)
{ANTIDOTES} – an anagram (doctor) of INSTEAD TO gives these cures

5d           Put differently, Tory leader charged with reprimand (9)
{TRANSLATE} – A verb meaning to put differently is constructed from the initial letter (leader) of Tory, a verb meaning charged or raced and to reprimand

6d           Willow is more blooming having top removed (5)
{OSIER} – this name for any willow whose twigs are used in making baskets is created by dropping the initial R (top removed) from an adjective meaning more blooming

7d           Impossible if blues fan changes, accepting Queen (12)
{INSUFFERABLE} – an adjective meaning impossible or  too much to bear is derived by putting an anagram (changes) of IF BLUES FAN around (accepting) the usual abbreviation of for the Queen

10d         Spin Premier’s spouting on broadcast (12)
{MISREPRESENT} – this verb meaning to spin in the way popularised by the dodgy dossier merchants of the last government is created from an anagram (spouting) of PREMIER’S followed by a word meaning  broadcast or transmitted

14d         Select former unit on hospital department (9)
{EXCELLENT} – this adjective meaning select or special is a charade of a former partner, a political unit and a hospital department

15d         Brig stripped vessel taken by fellow warship (9)
{PRIVATEER} – put the inside letters (stripped) of (B)RI(G) and a large vessel or tank inside a fellow or equal to get this warship commissioned to seize and plunder an enemy’s ships

17d         Footprint ‘Rover’ trailed catching lone wolf (9)
{INTROVERT} – hidden inside the clue is this lone wolf

21d         Front of bib with dribble from drink (5)
{BOOZE} – start with the initial (front) letter of Bib and follow it with a verb meaning to dribble to get a slang word for alcoholic drink

23d         Soak hit on hot European (5)
{BATHE} – a verb meaning to soak in a tub is created from a verb meaning to hit a cricket ball followed by H(ot) and E(uropean)

24d         Last item removed in strip? (5)
{THONG} – a cryptic definition of what is usually the last item removed by a stripper also works as a double definition – an item used by a cobbler at his last and a strip [Thanks to those who pointed this out]

A very meaty puzzle, although I found some of the all-in-one defintions to be a bit iffy.

The Quick crossword pun: {ban} + {clone} = {bank loan}


  1. Roland
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Yes, I agree ref 13a and the missing definition. A similar issue with 25a too I thought (double use of “run”?) Still, an enjoyable puzzle ***/*** I’d say. Thanks to Ray T and to BD.

  2. Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I struggled with this and have only just finished it, having started at 7:15am. Once I’d corrected my answer to 9a I slotted 10d in easily. Until then I wondered how Easter Rising fitted the clue. Stupid boy! :-)

  3. Jezza
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Marginally trickier than normal, and plenty of fun to solve.
    Thanks to Ray T, and BD.

    I thought the Toughie was good too, and it took me about the same time to complete as this one.

  4. Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I did not find it quite so difficult as the normal Thursday offering. After solving a few anagrams I had plenty of checking letters to work with. 13a very weak but that was all it could be. I did enjoy doing it despite the few odd clues.

  5. Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Au revoir. I can’t do 4* puzzles. I think that RayT makes them too difficult and the points of entry are few

    • Roland
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Hi CW – personally, I didn’t think it was 4*. I’d give it a go, you may be pleasantly surprised.

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Ok Roland, here goes

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          It’s horses for courses I think as Ray T is my favourite setter while I struggle with Giovanni.

          • Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

            My preference is for Rufus

            • mary
              Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

              Abslutely, me too collywobs, I love his sharp witty no nonsense clues, but horses for courses as they say or each to her own! :-)

          • Kath
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            Ray T is my favourite setter too, spindrift. I used to struggle with Giovanni on Fridays and Virgilius on Sundays but I have learnt SO much from this blog that I can usually make a pretty good attempt on Fridays and Sundays these days. Of course knowing that help is available makes a huge difference to how much I “perservate”!!

  6. Lord Luvvaduck
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I am afraid that I am not one of Ray T’s many fans and today’s offering did not convince me to change my view. 13a is an obvious example but 2d leaves me cold and I am still struggling to understand my answers to 15d and 25a. I do like to understand my answers and so often on a Thursday I don’t. On the positive side, 12a was nice and for once I forgive the use of a girl’s name since this particular one, in 16a, does have a clever connection.

    • Roland
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi LL, Ref 15d, Brig stripped of it’s outer letters, followed by a 3 letter vessel, all surrounded (taken) by a 4 letter word meaning fellow. The definition being warship (which is a bit of a stretch I agree, I thought it meant a pirate ship – but close enough?)

      • Lord Luvvaduck
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Roland – the muddy water is a little clearer. I have not come across the general word for a lord being used for ‘fellow’ before.

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          From Chambers:

          * An equal
          * A fellow
          * An antagonist (Spenser)
          * A noble of the rank of baron upward
          * Generally, a noble
          * A member of the House of Lords
          * One of Charlemagne’s paladins
          * A member of any similar body

          • Lord Luvvaduck
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

            Yes, indeed – all familiar except for Nos 2 and 3 in the list

            • Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

              If it’s in Chambers it is considered to be fair game.

              • Lord Luvvaduck
                Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

                Fair ’nuff

                • Roland
                  Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

                  I was thinking of it in terms of a peer group being a collection of equals or fellows.

                  • Lord Luvvaduck
                    Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                    I see what you mean. I thought that Chambers had it as a straight-forward synonym for ‘fellow’, as in “Hail, peer, and well met”, perhaps! Your interpretation makes better sense.

  7. Esprit
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I got through it and quite enjoyed it – but I agree that 13a is unconvincing. I suppose it’s trying to be an all in one carried by the “planty” words. I think I’ve got 25a, but can’t for the life of me see how it works. Look forward to seeing the hints and comments. Thanks. On my way up to London now – a bit of business and then an exhibition or something!

  8. upthecreek
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Typical RayT with lots of nudge nudge moments and of course, Queen. I enjoyed it immensely and favourite amongst many was 9a. Also liked 1a [surely a song there, BD] 13 15 19 22 ete etc. Thanks a lot Ray – its made my day.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      I’ll see if i can find a video of the original version – the same thought occurred to me!

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Now added – sometimes the recorded versions can’t be embedded due to copyright.

      • upthecreek
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that but all i am getting is a piece of jigsaw!

        • upthecreek
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Its OK now. Nice to hear one of the old classics again.

    • Kath
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      It made my day too, UTC! I always love his puzzles and today we had no power so I had to do it on my own – a bit of a challenge but nice to know that if help is not available I CAN do it!!

  9. Roger
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. A difficult one to start but gradually the clues dropped into place. I agree about 13A and await BD’s explanation of 25A

  10. handlebars
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure about 25ac must be something like e (from sweet) followed by lope (run) then men (hands) finishing with t (tense)

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      You’ve got it!

      • Roland
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Hi BD, but either there’s no definition, or run is also the definition and is doing a double shift (?)

        • gazza
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          The whole clue is the definition.

          • Roland
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

            Ok – guess so (ish). Thanks Gazza.

            • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

              This is a typical Ray T clue that is very difficult for many solvers. I feel that the clue is very abstruse. Thanks for your confidence Roland but I think that I’ll leave it. I really do not feel comfortable with RayT puzzles. I think that they are over complicated

              • Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

                Don’t give up. Try it, youve got the hints to help. 12 months ago I felt like you but learning from this site I completed it today. Go on, Surprise yourself.

                • Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

                  OK bf I’ll give it another go. Tks for your support

                  • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

                    Phew, just finished. Had to use some of BD’s hints, for which many thanks BD, but I gradually found it easier than I first thought. When will we get the illustration for 24d?

                    • mary
                      Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

                      Welll done on your perservation :-)

                    • Roland
                      Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

                      Well done CW – we had faith!

              • Kath
                Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

                I do think that there are other things that are more typical of Ray T clues!!!! :lol:

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        BD – I’m not sure that your explanation for 25a is correct…should’nt it be put a word for “run” instead of “elope”…

  11. Roger
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    25A Run = lope following the heart of sweet…E but then I struggle! E and N could be bridge hands..double meaning = elopement = holding hands. Is there a short form for a tense (past, pluperfect type of thing) which is MT?

  12. Colmce
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Aaah, I’m getting the hang of the comments in relation to my own skills.
    Very straight forward equals very difficult.
    A little harder than usual equals well nigh impossible.:)

    Really needed the hints, many thanks.

  13. Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Another rather tricksy Ray T today. Like many others, I could no t see a definition on 13A, 25A, 2D of 15D but they were solvable from the checking letters etc. I must say hough, that I thoroughly enjoyed 12A 19A and 22A and there were some nice anagrams to solve in 21A and 7D.

  14. crypticsue
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the BD rating today – I think this is a Beam that went astray – I can usualy solve a Ray T in under half this time. I thought 13a was trying to be an all-in-one too. Thanks to Ray for an unexpectedly extra brain stretching this morning and to BD for the explanations.

    The Toughie is worth a try too.

  15. jerseyboytoo
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    could some kind soul explain the link between the word tyson and a dog? Or was he nicknamed a R weiller?

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      That was my take on it – it’s a popular name for that breed of dog, a bit like Rover for other dogs

    • Roland
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s just a reflection of the fact that apparently, a lot of dogs such as Rottweilers that are kept as weapons and status symbols by gang members etc are called Tyson.

      • Kath
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and Staffie crosses – the ones that, in my experience, and that of our sweet, gentle and elderly little collie, are likely to attack with no reason – yet again, don’t start me …

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      There was a preponderance of dogs named Tyson when the boxer was famous. We even had a yorkie in our local pub with the name. I assumed that was the answer. Ray may tell us later.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s also probably got something to do with the word only having two syllables to remember for the educationally challenged…

  16. Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you CS. I usually run throug Ray T but struggled a bit with this. I’m looking forward to seing the hint for 23 down as my own explanation is very iffy. There were some nice doh moments though. Thanks to BD and Ray T.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Soak in a ‘tub’ Hit (3) + H(ot) and E(uropean).

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Just got back from OPD. Hadn’t thought of hit in that way! doh.

    • gazza
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m looking forward more to seeing the illustration for 24d :D

      • Jezza
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        When I got to that clue, I thought it was simply gratuitous schoolboy humour… hoorah, don’t you just love it?! :)

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Me as well. :)

  17. BigBoab
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    “You can’t like all of the quizzes all of the time” I am a big fan of RayT and his crosswords but I personally rated this about 2* for difficulty and enjoyment, maybe I’m having a bad day. Thanks anyway to RayT and to BD. Like Gazza I am looking forward to the illustration for 24d ( and mayhaps 20a )

  18. nicat
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I actually managed to finish it today before the hints came in, but it was a struggle with some! However, I don’t always understand why the answers are correct and I await the down clue hints. I started doing the Cryptic crossword at the beginning of Feb and was delighted to find this site with all its hints. I understand how to tackle many more of the clues than I did before. Thank you so much.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Nicat

    • Kath
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      I think that if you only started doing the cryptics a month ago and managed to finish this one without hints you are doing AMAZINGLY well. Fantastic!! This is a really great blog – all the clever people who write the hints are very knowledgable and helpful – if you don’t understand something you only need to ask and someone will help out!

  19. njm
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    As usual with Ray T, I feared initially that I would never even be able to start, then by dribs and drabs I found I’d done half of it. Once BD gave an hint for 1A, which I’d never have done on my own, the rest of the puzzle just followed on!
    Got 13a early on, but didn’t like the (lack of) definition, and remain unconvinced by 25a, even with BD’s explanation.
    4*/3* for me, but I think it is really too hard for a back page puzzle.

  20. Heno
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Ray T and Big Dave for the review & hints. Way too tough for me. Needed 7 across hints so far. Still not finished, stuck on 5 down clues with all the checkers in. Feel like a novice again would never have got this far without the hints. More like 5* for difficulty.

    • Heno
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Phew! Finished at last, agree with Crypticsue, a Beam in the wrong place :-)

      • Kath
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Much as I love his puzzles I also think that it could be a Beam in the wrong place – or maybe I was just in the wrong place today!

  21. beaver
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Definately**** and** for me today,relieved when i’d finished it! Like many others did not like the inexactness of 13 and 25 also regarding 9, i’ve never seen O for OVER before-has anyone else?

    • Roland
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      I guess the abbreviation “O” is used in cricket to mean over or overs in a bowler’s or batsman’s analysis. i.e. O = overs, M = maidens, R = runs etc etc.

      • beaver
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Thanks-over and out

  22. Brian
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm! No comment.

    • Franco
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      I’m usually a big fan of RayT – but, for once, I agree with you! Hmmm!

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink


      • Kath
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        You traitor, Franco!! :smile: I did think it was a bit tricky but SO many clues that made me laugh … yet another of his trademarks!

  23. Franco
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Phew! Wot a scorcher! Not the puzzle but the weather! (Ok not so hot but at least 10 degrees warmer than yesterday).

    I’m joining the anti-brigade concerning 2d, 13a & 25a. Didn’t really understand 22a either – cryptic?.

    (No illustration yet for 24d – I hope it’s not Borat again! Ref: DT26652)

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Don’t tempt me!

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Franco, You’ve never read Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’? Shame on you.

      • Franco
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        skempie, 22a – I think I was forced to read ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ at school – bloody Jesuit teachers!

        I solved it, but is it just GK? Can you parse it from the clue?

        • crypticsue
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Wasn’t it on the O level syllabus in the 1960s?

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          I think you can parse it fro the clue. The albatross has always been considered to be an unlucky (cursed) bird my sea going folks and in TROTAM the albatross is hung around his neck as punishment for killing it. Works for me.

  24. Linda
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Hard today with peculiar clues . Anagrams ok Flowerpot?

    • gazza
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Hi Linda – welcome to the blog.

  25. Roland
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    BD, I think your hint/explanation of 25a needs “a coat of looking at”.

  26. Ian
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Dave, should the hint for 25a read, “put a word for RUN(not elope) after the middle letter of sweet? Otherwise, having got 13 and 25a, I was thinking they were very clever all-in-one clues. Hope you’re not spending too long looking for a suitable illustration of 24d! Thanks to all as usual.

  27. mary
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dave, late checking in today, places to be, I finished this earlier on this morning and agree with the 4 star rating, quite a toughie for me, totally agree re 13a and 25a! 2d unless Tyson was nicknamed rotweiller, that clue doesn’t really make sense, a lot of convoluted clues without need, we have a Lyric Theatre in town so that was all I could think of for ages re 26a!! not one for me today, I like to have at least one favourite clue but I’m afrain I didn’t have one today :-(

  28. gazza
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    One of the meanings of the 24d answer is an item of footwear so I presume that “last item” is a cryptic way of saying “item made at a last”.

    • mary
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Hmmmmm very clever gazza :-) , I’m sure you can find us a nice picture of one

    • Roland
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that’s what I thought too. And another meaning is a strip of course.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I would have thought a last is the last place you’d see a thong. Yes, it can mean footwear, but refers to what we call flip flops, can’t see anyone stinking them on a last.

  29. Franny
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t been able to do this, and haven’t got the time just now to read the hints or the blog — but I did want to wish Rufus a very happy birthday and to thank him for all the pleasure he has given us.

    As for this week’s Ray T, I’ll have to get back to it, but meanwhile thank BD for the hints which I will undoubtedly need.

  30. Derek
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Hi folks!
    Just got my new cooker today and did my lunch in it – very pleased – it is a Siemens HB78GB590.

    Enjoyed this puzzle – faves : 6a, 16a, 22a, 2d, 6d &15d.

    Tongue sandwiches with pickles tonight – no cooking – then fruit.

    • Franco
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Derek – 8a – You seem to be our “Head Chef” – have you ever cooked “Neeps” & “Tatty” (singular) ?

      • Derek
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Hi Franco!
        I lived 23 years in Scotland and I have certainly cooked neeps and many a tatty!

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink


          The question is did you cook neeps and tatty or neeps and tatties? We think Ray T is being a bit mean having only one tatty with his haggis and neeps!

          • Derek
            Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

            It is possible to cook just one tatty if it is a large type – we used to get Bintjes over here from a shop in Leiden (Leyden) long since demolished due to road widening.
            My late wife and I visited Raymond Blanc’s Les Quat’ Saisons near Oxford in his early days there – we ate well and afterwards he proudly showed us his herb garden – I remember he had very many species of mint – I asked him what sort of spuds had he used in the meal and he said “Baintes” ( to be pronounced in French manner) – weeks later back in NL I realised he meant Bintjes!

            It is interesting to look at all the words for potatoes – spuds, tatties, taters &c. Also chips and French fries (USA) which are Franse frites in NL – of course NYC was originally Nieuw Amsterdam which is why the brick sizes in New York buildings are not British but Dutch – have a close look if you go there!

      • Kath
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        1d would have been much easier if I hadn’t spelt “neeps” “neAps” – my Scottish mother-in-law would have been so ashamed of me ..!!

        • Franco
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink


          I love your late night comments…but I always wonder how many people read them at this time of night!

          (I always get the impression that most of us are OAP’s – safely tucked away in the duvet – at this time of night)

          Where’s my duvet? What is a duvet? :wink:

          • Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

            I’m still kicking around due to a late call at work.
            My honest opinion on this puzzle is that I found it easier than many recent RayT puzzles and certainly not in the Toughie category. There were a few semi-all-in-ones and at least one All-In-One that some people failed to spot/appreciate in terms of solving. Speaking as a solver, if you have the right answer but can’t fathom the wordplay then read the whole clue again for the whole definition – Elopement was a classic example for me.
            Regarding 13a:
            Filled initially working trowel around palmetto ends?

            I think that the question mark is suggesting ‘that which is…’ or ‘Is this thing…?’ tacitly at the beginning of the clue with the wordplay following to give the &Lit. I didn’t solve it straight away but I do think that it is valid as a clue.

            Just my 2 cents on the whole debate (not this thread!).

            • Franco
              Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

              At what stage does a “semi-all-in-one” become a foul, Ref?

              Double-duty etc?

              • Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

                I think that the &Lit gets rid of the notion of ‘double duty’ as the whole answer is both definition and wordplay (sort of full duty!). In the case of a semi there is an increasing whiff of double duty if only because there are certain words/phrases used (‘like this’, does, he/she/it?’, ‘here?’ etc) that do not form part of the wordplay so negate the remainder in some people’s eyes (not mine necessarily).
                In that regard I would see the semi.. as the foul and the &lit as the goal but in reality one must ask “what is fair to the solver?”. I think that 13a was the most marginal today (although fair enough as I personally read it) but ELOPEMENT was simply superb (and my second last one in with ‘BOOZE’ after brief Hiaitus,

          • Steve_the_beard
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

            At “this” time of night? Some of us are owls rather than larks, you know! I tend to comment less later on, purely because by then ‘most everything interesting has already been said…

            And I know what a duvet is :-)

          • Heno
            Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

            Hi Franco, I’m still here, too warm for the duvet :-)

        • Steve_the_beard
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

          Hi Kath – yes, I had to check the spelling of that one, to be sure, to be sure :-)

  31. Kath
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    In general I loved it – tricky though – definitely 4* for me too today, especially with no electricity so no hints, no light and, worst of all, no radio!! :sad:
    Lots that made me laugh – always a good thing. Agree totally with BD’s description of the owners of rottweilers called Tyson! SO many favourites – I know that favourite can really only be one but I’m going to put them all down anyway – 16, 19, and 20a and 2, 17 (it took me AGES to spot that it was in the middle of the clue – very cleverly disguised in my opinion) 21 and 24d. Best of all, for me, was 27a. With thanks to Ray T and BD.

  32. Little Dave
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle once again from Ray. I agree that 13a is a tad incomplete. I struggled initially then rattled it off quite speedily – particularly liked 9a and 26a. Easily the best challenge of the week so far and a 3* in my view.

  33. Grumpy Andrew
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday I solved all but one clue – that word that no one has heard of. Today I solved just four. Seriously hated it.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Try the Toughie, Andrew, it might make you Slightly Less Grumpy Andrew.

  34. Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Evening all. Thanks to BD for the hints and to everybody for your feedback. Much appreciated as always.


  35. jaehancock
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m in agreement with lots of folks here. I thought this was quite a tricky puzzle with some pretty ‘out there’ clues. The Toughie was, for the most part, easier. Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable brainstrain. Thanks to Ray T for setting it and to Big Dave for the hints.

  36. williamus
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Mmm… I struggled to get this one finished, but thanks to Big Dave for getting me there in the end. I spent far too long on this (isn’t retirement wonderful, though?). The omens weren’t good from the off. 1a and 7d came too easily and by then I knew I was in trouble! I kept leaving it alone this afternoon and trying to “surprise” it but with little success and have had to come back here for help. Putting “clair” in for 16a didn’t help my cause, either. Clearly, I’ve led too sheltered a life, as I didn’t know people called their dogs 2d! Cheers!

    • Kath
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      I think that lots of us struggled with this one. If you don’t know people who call their dogs “Tyson” you must live in quite a good place!!

  37. Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I thought this an excellent puzzle and particularly liked (having highlighted) the great semi and &Lits at 16a and 24 and also 20a. Many thanks to RayT and BD. I started well on this but the last few caused a bit of head scratching, particularly the aforementioned 25a, 21d and 15d.
    Late on parade as I have just boarded a train having been on a call in London so my thanks to crypticsue for covering tomorrow’s Sunday blog to save my bacon at the expense of her liver (I cannot take the credit for this joke, it was all hers!)

  38. Addicted
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Ray T but I think you just try to be too clever by half and would be better off in the Toughie section! Horrid puzzle,SO convoluted it’s not true. Having said that, I did get most of them – with A LOT of electronic help! – and needed hints for only about 3, though also needed hints to explain most of the answers, though still don’t understand 13a apart from it’s an anagram – where’s the definition?? The only one I got without too much thought was 22a and then everything else was so obscure I doubted myself. Sorry, didn’t enjoy it, though had to perservate for my own self-esteem! (Again – thank heaven for anagrams! At least I got a few that way). Thanks for badly needed explanations BD.

    • Kath
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Addicted – I really like lots of your comments but NOT today. I don’t think that calling a puzzle “horrid” is ever justified. Different people like different puzzles. I agree that today’s was difficult. I take my hat off to anyone clever enough to set a crossword, let alone one like today’s.

  39. TimCypher
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Put me in the ‘excellent puzzle’ camp – I enjoyed this one, didn’t find it too tricky, and it came together quite nicely. 2d and 6d were educated guesses, mind… ;)
    I liked 19a, 20a, 17d (big d’oh as I realised the clue type – very subtle!) and also 21d (another big d’oh as the right synonym for ‘dribble’ came to mind).
    24d was an ‘hmmmmm’ moment – it couldn’t have been anything else – but the subtle cobbler connotation actually made this a good clue.
    Great stuff from Ray T as usual!

  40. RocketNick
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    This was too hard for me…it shows my lack of ability when the going gets tough! No fun at all…hope for better luck tomorrow.

    • Prolixic
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog RocketNick

  41. Steve_the_beard
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Hell’s teeth, that was hard! Agree with BD’s ratings, and thanks to all involved.

  42. Ashley Wilkes
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Very poor indeed today

    I know that some people aren’t happy unless there is a Toughie on the back page as well as inside the paper but today’s crossword was a travesty

    No more of this please!

    • Franco
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

    • Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:21 am | Permalink

      Care to suggest which clues in particular are ‘poor’?

  43. Jerome B
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m on the verge of not even bothering with the Thursday crossword. I have recently started buying the Telegraph again every weekday for the daily commute after a long absence. I can normally finish, or nearly finish, the crossword every day except Thursdays. The prize crossword on Saturday is a doddle in comparison. If it wasn’t for this site, I would go mad not knowing the breakdown of the answers! Oh well, at least I have the Metro to read instead…

    • gazza
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Hi Jerome – welcome to the blog.

  44. telboy
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    awful, too many holes, cryptic angle missing in places, rubbish effort.

    • Posted February 25, 2012 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      Is that the description of your solution? It’s cryptic enough!
      I can’t see the ‘rubbish effort’.